Wiping his brow, he looks up to see Marci, their “babysitter,” lost in a book sitting in the recliner. She’s brought back to the real world only when he clears his throat.
“Oh, Mr. G! You’re home. Mrs. G said you’d probably be late. She had to go to work.”
“Yeah, the wonderful world of flying. How’s Mark?”
“You know, other than grumbling about me having to be here, he’s lost in that video game, Dark Fantasy.”
Carl smiles. “Something about being 12 makes you think you’re ready for the world.” He reaches into his pants pocket and pulls out his wallet.
“No need, Mr. G, Mrs. G paid already.”
He nods, but yet pulls out a 10. “Here, a little extra for all you do...and puttin’ up with a 12-year-old’s attitude.”
She laughs and takes the bill with a thanks. Tossing her book in her pack, she starts for the entry.
“You need a ride or anything?”
“Nope, but thanks. Got my dad’s car.” She flashes another quick smile and waves, then slides through the door.
Carl moves over to the front window, keeping an eye until she’s safe in the car and on her way. Loosening his tie, he heads up the stairs, giving a light tap on Mark’s door before stepping in.
“Oh, hey, Dad. Didn’t know you were back.”
“Just got in. How’s Mom?”
“Good. Think she had to work or somethin’.”
“So I heard.” Carl juts his chin in the direction of the curtained window. “You know, there’s this bright thing called the sun out there calling for you. We could go out and toss a ball or something. Supposed to be nice tomorrow again and I’m off...maybe we could go fishin’?”
“Thanks, Dad. Maybe some other time. I just got to Level 16, Shadowland.” He takes a deep sigh.
“But I’m kinda stuck. My partner has been off line since last night, and you really need to team up for this next demon.”
“Yeah. T-Rex44. He’s really a cool dude. We’ve been kickin’ as...uh, butt together since Level 5.”
“A cool dude, eh?” He smiles and shakes his head. “Okay, well I’m gonna get these stinkin’ work clothes off and kick back for a bit. I’ll come get you for dinner later.”
“Can’t we just order a pizza?”
Carl gives his head another shake. “Okay, sounds good.”
He heads down the hall, tucking into the master bedroom, twisting the lock on the door as he closes it behind him. He tosses his suit jacket and tie on the bed, then slips into the “sitting nook,” a little alcove in the large room. He sits at the desk, jet lag taking its toll, and fires up the PC.
A beep tells him the PC is alive, and clicks on the application.
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